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Rest in Peace, Bertha…We’ll miss your

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BY JOHN McLOONE

It’s cold, and unfortunately it’s only going to get colder.

I’m not even talking about outside. I’m talking about inside our home.

Bertha died.

Bertha served us well for many years, and I assume she served the previous occupants for quite a while before that too. Bertha is the name I have given the boiler unit, that dutifully every year has heated our old house.

We don’t have one of these fancy places with a forced air furnace and central air. We had Bertha, a big complicated looking contraption in the middle of our basement, and now Bertha is dead.

It’s sad. She’s probably been dead for some time, but we just officially found out Friday, and it’s given us a cold feeling all over. Literally.

I play the game that men all over this part of the country play each fall. Just how long can you go until you fire up the furnace? Folks, I’m here to tell you, you’re playing with fire. Actually, you’re playing with ice. I’m never going to participate in that game again. I’m not proud that I waited halfway through October to have a visit with Bertha when she didn’t respond to a spin of the thermostat. The coroner, in the form of a heating guy, confirmed the worst possible news.

“This thing’s dead.”

He tried reviving her. He went to his van twice for tools, took off all kinds of screws, removed a cover here, and some wires there, poking to and fro. He described to me the cause of death and explained that even if he brought her back to life, she’d never be the same.

As we await word on Bertha’s replacement, we can’t help but think about all the warm memories she brought us. She was there through all the good times. She never really needed anything but water. Sure there was a service call here and there, but nothing like this. I can’t imagine a December without her, but we’re sure figuring out what a 30-degree October morning feels like. We have a few heaters sprinkled through the place, heating where we need to be, and they’re nothing like Bertha. She warmed every room she was in. She didn’t play favorites. There was no hot and cold with her. There was just warmth.

We’re going to be transitioning – sooner rather than later I hope – to Bertha’s replacement. Until that time, I plan to devote more time to my work. It’ll keep my mind off the price of the new unit. Plus, it’s got heat, and that thermostat is going to get the spin of its life!

Please bear with us in this time of our loss, if we’re not as attentive as we should be. We’re half-frozen for crying out loud.

Some day, we’ll bask again in warmth, and some day can’t come soon enough!

October 27, 2021